NextUp: The CHOP Spinout Reducing Medication Errors and Waste

Bainbridge Health is using data to identify trends in critical care medication use for COVID-19 patients and prevent drug shortages during the pandemic.

The co-founders of Bainbridge Health (L-R) Chief clinical officer Sean O’Neill; chief technology officer Sam Wilson; and chief executive officer Joseph Kaupp. / Courtesy

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Who: In 2015, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) created an Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (OEI) to encourage its clinicians and scientists to develop innovative solutions to common problems in the hospital setting. This inspired Sean O’Neill to begin thinking of ways to address a major problem he’d observed while working as a pharmacist at CHOP: negative outcomes from medication use, including medication errors and expensive medication waste.

O’Neill later teamed up with then CHOP entrepreneur-in-residence, Joseph Kaupp, and a tech whiz and colleague of Kaupp’s, Sam Wilson, to begin developing a software platform that would be capable of aggregating and centralizing disparate medication data from numerous technologies and sources. The trio spent the next year collaborating with adult and pediatric health systems across the country to develop their platform, and in 2016 they spun out from CHOP as Bainbridge Health. They’ve since grown from a team of three to more than 20 full-time employees and advisors that drive the company’s efforts at its 20th and Market Streets headquarters.

What: According to Kaupp, medication is the most complex, costly and dangerous thing in the hospital. With billions of dollars of medication flowing through the pharmacy supply chain, there are a tremendous amount of adverse consequences that can occur when medication is not properly managed, including patient harm, substantial avoidable costs, stolen opioids, drug shortages, and medication errors, which may account for even more harm than we know because many errors go unreported.

To address these issues, Bainbridge Health has developed a technology platform, called Med O.S., that centralizes medication use data from fragmented pharmacy technologies, creating what the company says is one of the largest datasets on medication use. The company relies heavily on data gathered from intravenous (IV) smart pumps, which were designed and implemented broadly in healthcare systems over a decade ago to reduce medication errors by digitally tracking medication dosage and infusion rates. Bainbridge’s suite of software services leverages the company’s rich dataset to help hospitals prevent medication errors, reduce waste of expensive drugs, and ensure the availability of critical medications.

When: In July, Bainbridge announced a plan to use its dataset to help hospitals respond to COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bainbridge has been closely monitoring network data to identify trends in the use of muscle relaxers, vasoactive agents, and sedatives, all medications that are commonly used during the treatment of COVID-19 positive patients. Through the analysis of IV smart pump data and drug preparation data, the company has been able to assist network hospitals in identifying drug waste and determining optimal formulations of medications required to treat COVID-19 positive patients.

In a recent webinar, O’Neill presented benchmarking data from Bainbridge Health’s network of hospitals, highlighting trends in infusion pump data from health systems in both COVID-19 hot spots and lesser-impacted areas.

What it means: By showing usage patterns of critical care medications at the peak of the pandemic, Bainbridge may be able to advise hospitals on their future medication supply needs, help them to quickly determine abnormal drug use patterns and preempt critical medication shortages, and prepare for additional waves of COVID-19.

“Infusion data is a great source of truth for medication administration. It provides an understanding of how much drug is actually being administered to patients, which can inform decisions about how much medication to purchase and which formulations to make them in,” said O’Neill, Bainbridge Health’s co-founder and chief clinical officer. “Having access to this data in a digestible way is vital to making operational decisions, especially in times of uncertainty like this.”

Why it matters now: As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb and health systems prepare for a possible surge of new cases in the fall, Bainbridge Health’s platform could become a critical resource for helping hospitals effectively prepare their medication inventory to treat COVID-19 patients.

“Our mission at Bainbridge Health is fundamentally about improving patient health. This has never been more critical than in the current context,” said Kaupp, Bainbridge Health’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “COVID-19 has stressed medication supply chains and made patient care more challenging than ever. Our entire team has rallied around this new challenge to ensure our clinical and hospital partners are able to use the Bainbridge Health technology to continue to provide outstanding care to their patients.”